Prospects of cage fish farming in the existing rivers are very bright as it can yield around 10,000 tonnes of additional fishes valued at around Tk 150 crore only in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts annually.
Dr Amimul Ehsan, District Fisheries Officer, said they have found the potentiality after assessing outcomes of a pilot project of cage fish culture along the Mahananda River, adjacent to the Chapainawabganj district town in the recent past.
There are enormous prospects of commercial fish farming in the river and different other open water bodies that can supplement the government effort to boost fish production in the region to meet up its nutritional
Dr Ehsan said around 10 tonnes of fish valued at around Tk 15 lakh can be harvested per unit annually if water level remains optimum alongside free from infection of any disease.
A farmer can easily make a neat profit worth Tk 35,000 with primary investment of Tk four lakh in every month, he added.
There is prospect of commissioning of 700 to 1,000 units in the Padma and Mohananda rivers from where around additional 7,000 to 10,000 tonnes of fish valued at around Tk 100 to 150 crore can be harvested every year.
Shafiul Alam Mukta, a fisherman of Pirijpur village under Godagari Upazila, has become an icon in this field as he along with some of his friends have found the path of becoming financially solvent through the venture.
He's now very happy over his cage fish farming as it changed his fate and made him self-reliant. "I have sold 40,000 kilograms of fish produced from 45 cages and made profits of Tk 3.5 lakh," he said.
Many more youths of the village got profit after being farmed of fish in cages in the nearby Padma River.
Mukta said, they have a 20-member cooperative society named 'Padma Fish Care' in Pirijpur village. To make the sanctuary effective, cage fish farming had been launched there. Couple of years back, the Department of Fisheries first gave them 20 cages and later added twenty more.
The department also provided them with fingerlings of monosex tilapia for rearing in the cages initiating cage fish farming in the river for the first time. Number of cages has now stood at over 50.
Shafiul Mukta said there is an excellent opportunity of establishing cage fish culture on 30-kilometer water areas with employment scope of more than 10,000 people side by side with boosting significant fish production.
Prof Nazrul Islam of Department of Zoology at Rajshahi University said Padma feeds water to its 27 branches and tributaries and a lot of rare and endangered fish stocks are being released there from this sanctuary in Godagari.
He mentioned the encouraging youths were working for fish sanctuary without any monetary benefit. They do not have any income from the fish sanctuary.